Archives for December 2017

BBC Music Magazine Awards 2017

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Chamber Music
Martinu: The Complete Piano Trios
Smetana Trio: Jitka Čechová (piano), Jiří Vodička (violin) & Jan Páleníček (cello) (SU41972)
‘These are quite simply benchmark performances of these life-affirming works. The Smetana Trio proves hugely responsive to the Czech composer Martinů’s characteristic sprung rhythms, effervescent humour and contrasting moments of introspective lyricism. It’s an intoxicating mixture that leaves you puzzled as to why such incredible music has not yet established itself firmly in the repertory.’

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The Sunday Times Best 100 Albums – 2017

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We are proud to announce the following classical titles, distributed by RSK, have all been listed in The Sunday Times Best 100 albums of the year:

 
 
 

GIACOMELLI, ORLANDINI, ALBINONI, PORPORA, LEO, VINCI: Carnevale 1729: opera arias
Ann Hallenberg, Il Pomo d’Oro, dir Stefano Montanari
(Pentatone)
The Swedish mezzo is in her element with these arias from little-known operas written for the Venice Carnival season.
MAHLER: Symphony No 3
Gerhild Romberger, choirs, Budapest Festival Orchestra, cond Ivan Fischer
(Channel Classics)
Mahler’s epic symphony gets a deeply felt reading.
BIZET, DAVID, FRANCK ET AL : Visions: opera and oratorio arias
Véronique Gens, Münchner Rundfunkorchester, cond Hervé Niquet
(Alpha)
The French soprano’s 19th-century rarities include some delicious discoveries.
BRITTEN, HINDEMITH : Violin concertos
Arabella Steinbacher, Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin, cond Vladimir Jurowski
(Pentatone)
The coupling of these near-contemporaries by the German violinist is inspired.
MARTINU: The Epic of Gilgamesh
Soloists, Prague Philharmonic Choir, Czech Philharmonic, cond Manfred Honeck
(Supraphon)
Martinu’s gripping cantata — a sort of Cold War requiem — gets a thrilling performance.
PETER MAXWELL DAVIES: The Last Island
Hebrides Ensemble
(Delphian)
This beguiling sequence of late inventions ends with a quartet unfinished at Davies’s death.
PASCAL DUSAPIN : String Quartets Nos 6 and 7
Arditti Quartet, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, cond Pascal Rophé
(Aeon)
The longer quartet, No 7, OpenTime, requires an orchestra as well as four string players, and is full of intricate, repetitive figuration.

LIZA LIM : The Wreck of Former Boundaries
Elision, cond Carl Rosman
(Huddersfield Contemporary)
This release marks the Australian ensemble’s 30th birthday. Lim’s work How Forests Think is cast in a nuanced avant-garde idiom.
MORTON FELDMAN : Three Voices
Juliet Fraser
(Hat[now]Art)
Fraser’s sensitive realisation of this late Feldman opus, based on a poem written to him by Frank O’Hara, sees her become a singular trio.
JOHN MCCABE : Silver Nocturnes
Roderick Williams, Sacconi Quartet
(NMC)
The title piece among these three works is an arresting setting of 16th-century “silver” poets, framed by Shakespeare.
EDGARD VARESE : New York
Ensemble Intercontemporain, cond Matthias Pintscher
(Alpha)
Varèse’s Intégrales stands out on this deft evocation of New York’s creative spirit.
SCIARRINO, CARTER, NUNES ET AL : Caprices
Irvine Arditti
(Aeon)
The violinist and leader of the great quartet is an indomitable espouser of the avant-garde, as we see in this programme.
STRAVINSKY : The Soldier’s Tale
Royal Academy of Music Manson Ensemble, cond Oliver Knussen
(Linn)
Stravinsky’s theatre piece is set beside short items by him, Birtwistle and Maxwell Davies. Harriet Walter narrates.

Presto Recordings of the Year 2017 – Winners

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Dvorak: Quintets Op. 81 & 97
Boris Giltburg (piano), Pavel Nikl (viola)
Pavel Haas Quartet (SU41952)
Throughout the slow movement, the playing of the solo lines is captivating…The Haas Quartet with Boris Giltburg provide both relaxation and a strong sense of purposeful energy…Excellently recorded,… — BBC Music Magazine, November 2017, *****

 

Carbonelli: Sonate da Camera Nos. 1-6
Bojan Čičić (violin)
The Illyria Consort (DCD34194)
Čičić’s distinctive sound – sweet, slightly dry and exquisitely centred – is ideal for the taut beauty of Carbonelli’s solo lines. Crucially, Čičić fleshes out the composer’s ideas, filling rests… — BBC Music Magazine, September 2017, *****

Mozart: Piano Concertos Nos. 25 & 26
Francesco Piemontesi (piano)
Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Andrew Manze (CKD544)
Piemontesi’s playing is mostly magnificent, with crystalline clarity, radiant tone and eloquent phrasing. In the fine and intriguing cadenzas, he shines with surety of purpose — BBC Music Magazine, October 2017, ***

Gramophone Award Winners 2017

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Early Music
Dowland: Lachrimae, or Seaven Teares
Elizabeth Kenny (lute), Phantasm (CKD527)
“Phantasm’s performances are totally convincing and absorbing…their acuity to the music’s ever-active emotional flux leaves them unafraid to use forceful gestures of articulation and dynamics to make a point

 

Orchestral
Haydn 2032 Volume 4 – Il Distratto
Il Giardino Armonico, Giovanni Antonini (ALPHA674)
“As in the previous volumes, the orchestral playing is breathtaking in its accuracy -the sort of Haydn playing you dream of…this may well become the period-instrument Haydn cycle by which all others are measured.”